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Eric Portman

(1901—1969) actor


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(1903–69), English actor, who made his début in 1924 and later was at the Old Vic Theatre, where in 1928 he was much admired as Romeo to the Juliet of Jean Forbes-Robertson. In the following year he was seen as Stephen Undershaft in a revival of Shaw's Major Barbara, and he also appeared as Eben in O'Neill's Desire under the Elms (1931). He made his début in New York in 1937 in a dramatization of Flaubert's Madame Bovary, and returned to London the following year to appear in Priestley's I Have Been Here Before. In later years he was outstandingly successful in Rattigan's double bill of The Browning Version and Harlequinade (1948), and gave fine performances as the Governor in the Christies' His Excellency (1950) and as Father James Browne in Graham Greene's The Living Room (1953). He was seen later in another double bill by Rattigan, Separate Tables (1954), in which he also acted successfully in New York in 1956, following it on Broadway with several important roles, notably Cornelius Melody in O'Neill's A Touch of the Poet (1958) and Cherry in Bolt's Flowering Cherry (1959). He returned to England in 1964, and his last role on the stage was in a revival of Galsworthy's Justice in 1968.

From The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.


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